Photo: Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images
Chuck D's Hip-Hop History Book "Could Have Been 3,000 Pages Long"
"The first hint I got of the music itself was as a teenager in New York," Chuck D told Billboard of his first encounter with rap in the mid-'70s, "I was like 'What is this Muhammad Ali-type stuff on top of music?' The technology aspect of it bit me."
Chuck previously wrote at length about his thoughts on the state of rap in his 1997 book, Fight The Power, but the idea of distilling the collected history of the musical form and its associated subgenres into a definitive play-by-play of its progression and development — and making it approachable and accessible even to the uninitiated or casual fan — has remained on his bucket list. Chuck D Presents This Day In Rap And Hip-Hop History seeks to do just that.
"It could have been a series," he said regarding the breadth of ground he had to cover. "But the thing you learn when doing something like this is the gift of truncating and balance."
"The book could have been 1,500 to 3,000 pages," he adds.
With so much history condensed into just 352 pages, Chuck D confessed that part of the difficulty was remaining neutral and not allowing personal nostalgia to shift too much focus to the early years of rap history, when so much change and development has taken place in the past decade.
"You can't have any biases," he said. "You've got to be astute enough and have respect for all periods of the music in order to make great parables and comparisons to the classic stuff that’s already revered."
Chuck D Presents This Day In Rap And Hip-Hop History is out now, and is available in print or digital version wherever books are sold.